Wednesday, November 4, 2009

John Ford documentary

I have always been aware over the years of how influencial the late director John Ford was in motion picture history. My favorite movie of all time, The Grapes Of Wrath, was directed by him, so I have known of him and a lot of his most famous movies. But I never knew what John Ford, the man, was like.
I recently rented the DVD Young Mr. Lincoln ( 1939 ) with Henry Fonda in the lead role and Ford directing. What came as a surprise to me was a very educational special feature documentary about the famed director on a bonus disc.
Many things were brought to my attention I didn't know. Like that 9 of his film's ( the most ) are listed in the book, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. That 9 times out of 10 he used a steadicam and hardly ever used a dolly. That's amazing considering some of the epic movies he shot. That he won 4 Oscar's, the most of any other director all time.
When Orson Wells studied Ford's Stagecoach for inspiration for his own Citizen Kane, he was asked who his 3 favorite directors were. He replied " John Ford, John Ford and John Ford ". Ha ! He has been verbally counted as a main influence by other directors such as Steven Spielberg, Sergio Leone, Akira Kurosawa, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and Bernardo Bertolucci.
It was a most excellent and intriguing documentary. Some of the best footage was knowing that he was sort of an eccentric and most of the time when he gave interviews, he hardly ever gave a straight answer. A must see for any movie fan.

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Started to really pay attention to film ( movies ) what was going on in front of the camera, but more interestingly, behind it as well at about as far back as age 10. Motion pictures ( when good ) are a fascinating medium. All the work and prep that goes into filmmaking. It's an amazing process !